Pete Townsend: Music From Lifehouse
Image // Unrated // $24.99 // February 26, 2002
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 4, 2002
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

About 30 years ago, Who guitarist Pete Townsend began work on an experiemental piece called "Lifehouse" that he attempted to turn into either a theatrical production or a film, but the technology didn't exist to create his vision. Music was even written for the piece, but even today, when the piece remains a possibility, it hasn't come together. Still, at Sadler's Wells in London on February 25 and 26, 2000, Townsend and a masterful group of backing musicians came together to play the songs that were originally created to a small audience.

While Townsend certainly has gotten older after all these years, the performances both here and at the recent "Who: Live at Royal Albert Hall" shows proves that he's lost little of the intensity or passion for the music that he showed in performances early on with the Who. "Music From Lifehouse" is an especially terrific effort to show off some classics in a fresh and highly enjoyable fashion.

Songs: Fantasia Upon One Note, Teenage Wasteland, Love Ain't For Keeping, Greyhound Girl, Mary, I Don't Know Myself, Bargain, Pure and Easy, Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Let's See Action, Getting in Tune, Relay, Join Together, Won't Get Fooled Again, Can You Help the One You Really Love?


The DVD

VIDEO: The concert is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Image Entertainment. The picture quality is not perfect, but at its best, it looks pretty fantastic. Sharpness and detail are terrific throughout the performance, as the image remained smooth, sharp and well-defined. There did seem to be some slight grain in the backgrounds at times, but the picture otherwise remained free of pixelation or edge enhancement. Colors looked wonderful, as the stage lighting and other general colors appeared vibrant, well-saturated and problem-free.

SOUND: "Pete Townsend: Lifehouse" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 by Image Entertainment. As quite often is the case with Image's concert/music releases, the music sounds absolutely terrific. Not only is this a superb recording, but the use of surrounds during the entire concert is appropriate and only adds to the enjoyment of the viewing experience. There are certainly concert performances captured on DVD that bring the power and big volume of the stadium experience to the home theater, but there are also shows that do an exceptional job capturing the music in a smaller setting with strong detail and a very crisp, natural sound - this presentation falls firmly into that catagory.

The music clearly remains mostly in the front speakers, but each instrumental element is so distinct that it really adds to the convincing feel of being at the performance. The crowd noise is also quite nicely integrated, as well, politely coming from the surrounds. Townsend's vocals, as well as those of the backing singers, were clear with great presence. Overall, the concert's sound offered a very nice "front row" feeling. A pleasure to listen to.

MENUS: Very basic film-themed images serve as backgrounds.

EXTRAS: An insert about the history of "Lifehouse".

Final Thoughts: Fans of Townsend will be very pleased with this exceptional performance of classic tunes. The DVD provides very good audio and video, although not a great deal of supplements. Recommended.



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